Sri Kanya theatre was and is still the hub of Railway New Colony in the neighbourhood of Dondaparthy, one of the old residential areas of the city. A village like atmosphere still prevails inside this colony. The oldest landmark of the colony is the mosque around which a few hundreds of Muslims live. The area has an Arabic school. Hindu and Muslim festivals are celebrated with involvement of all communities. A mass of people always congregate for religious occasions, be it a local goddess festival or a major festival.
Rasool, an old timer, recalled that bus number 13 was very famous. The bus service from Railway station traversed through New Colony, TSN Colony, Dondaparthy, Collectorate and old town to the old post office. The roads were very narrow and people mostly travelled by bi-cycles and rickshaws. Those days the theatres were filled to their capacity and the Sri Kanya Theatre in the colony was the hub of activity. Food and eatery points operated until the end of second film show and the life of the people revolved around cultural shows and movie theatres.
Joseph Ratna Kumar, a resident of Subbalakshminagar, near the theatre recalls that the Subbalakshmi Kalyana Mandapam was once a focal point of cultural and religious programmes, which provided a musical and spiritual feast to the residents living in the area. The area, which was once very peaceful, now has become a business and commercial location with several hotels and lodges thriving. Pollocks School, the oldest in the area was a known land mark for the people of the day.
The Railway Stadium since 1970’s was known for its cricket matches and multiple sports activities. It was once and even today a nerve centre for the young sportsmen and women. It has turned out to be a boon for hundreds of morning walkers, who walk and talk.
Shyam Sunder recalls the days in the 1970’s and 80’s when cultural programmes used to be arranged involving the entire village of New Colony. Parasa, the village festival used to be organised for days and ‘record dances’ were organised with lookalikes of stars of yesteryears dancing to the tunes of film songs played with Gramophone records. People in large numbers would attend the night dance programmes and the dancing electrified the atmosphere. Those days the police did not object to such programmes as it is being done today.
The Indiranagar colony which is more than 30 years old, is a slum just beside the Sri Kanya Theatre and had become a bone of contention between the slum dwellers and the GVMC.
The slum dwellers who occupy the pavement and part of the road by bathing, washing and spreading their cots on the road refuse to vacate the private land owned by ex-corporator Y. Mariadas. GVMC authorities, since 1985, had been trying to shift the slum dwellers from there but the residents refused to budge. Zonal Commissioner IV J. Vijaya Lakshmi said that when the houses were allotted to the slum dwellers at Lorry Stand area and Kommadi under the JNNURM they agreed to shift, but backed off saying that the GVMC authorities should construct houses at the very place the slum was located. The subject of Indiranagar colony slum has been discussed almost by every GVMC council since the 1980’s but none had bore fruit. The problem is back to square one once again.
The area which comes under ward no. 31 has underground drainage works completed and road works in progress. One major development taking place is the replacing of ordinary street lighting with LED lighting by the GVMC. The residential area is a mix of economically weaker sections as well as the affluent ones.
Jaya Kumar, another resident of the area complains that the old residential area has no public parks to boast of. The nearest park is the Diamond Park in Dwarkanagar. The area is also devoid of resident welfare associations as in the modern townships.
There are, however, some residential locations like Muslim Thatichetlapalem, Venkatrajnagar, old RTO office area in New Colony and other locations, which have retained a pristine village-like serine atmosphere untouched by time and tide.